April, 2020 

“Hey, did you hear the news?” 

“No, what happened?” 

“The 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee got cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

“Oh no! I was really looking forward to take part in it this year.” 

“I know, right! The only other time the event was cancelled was from 1943 to 1945 because of World War II.” 

“Well, that’s just sad.” 

November, 2020 

Hey, guess what?” 

“What is it?” 

“I just learned about this amazing Online Spelling Bee Competition organized by 98th Percentile. I’m thinking I am going to register for it! 

“Oh really? That’s some good news! I was actually missing being part of a spelling bee competition this year. 

“Yeah, I am so relieved. Something fun to look forward to! They also have a blog on it, go check it out.” 

Can you relate to the conversation taking place in April of this year? The year 2020 is only the second year in the last ninety-five years that the Scripps National Spelling Bee has been cancelled. It is a landmark competition that entices competitors from around the nation, and it had only previously been cancelled during World War II. A war and a pandemic are the only two giants that have ever stood in its way. 

Luckily, 98th Percentile (an online learning platform) is bringing back the spirit of competition to an otherwise trying year in our national competition, Spell Kahoot! Participating in a spelling bee is not just about fun and games; being a competitor develops and improves your overall sense and efficiency within a particular language. Preparing for and participating in a spelling bee also enhances some important traits: 

COGNITIVE SKILLS: enhances at various levels through preparation 

COMPETITIVE SPIRIT: develops through engagement with other teams 

CONFIDENCE: builds with online participation 

CONCENTRATION: enhances while learning and retaining thousands of words 

COMMUNICATION: good spelling facilitates strong literacy and communication 

English: Funny and Mysterious 

From the language’s weird spelling rules to its complex grammar laws, it can be a struggle trying to structure sentences that are correct. Common sense would dictate that you could would write a word the way its pronounced, or pronounce it the way it is spelled and for it to be correct. But not in English! How on earth do the words “cough,” “though” and “through” don’t rhyme but “pony” and “bologna” do!? It appears to make no sense at all. The struggle in learning its rules is real but gradually and eventually it could be mastered through tough thorough thought, thoughDid you take a while to read the last sentence? If yes, then you understand the complexities of the English language!  

Before we even try to comprehend rules of any language, it’s essential to understand its origin and etymology. English is a part of the Indo-European language family and its words share common roots with German, French, Russian, Hindi and Persian. It has borrowed extensively from various languages and has kept evolving ever since.  

Pronunciation is Key 

That has led to the bending of lot of rules and sometimes goes by no logic at all. Just when you think you’ve got the pronunciation of “womb” and “tomb” correct, there will be a “bomb” to perplex you.  

It becomes especially crucial to get your pronunciations right if you’re preparing for a spelling bee competition where every word will be spoken by the announcer. But, with the right set of strategies and directions, anyone can ace a spelling bee challenge. The key is to know where to start. Go through the following tips and even take it a step further by doing your own research as well.  

Tips and Tricks 

1. Learn a few rules 

Let’s face it. There is no shortcut when it comes to learning a new language. Sometimes the best way to make friends with a language is to learn its rules. But at the same time, there are no hard and fast spelling rules in English due to its nature. You can find few basic tips and rules on how to spell English words correctly on https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/spelling-and-word-lists/spelling-rules.html 

2. Use mnemonics 

If remembering loads of complex information is difficult, why not add some meaning to it? It becomes easier to memorize something when it has some meaning associated with it. Mnemonics are a type of memory aid that help you to do so. Attach any silly sentence, story or song to a word that will stick to your mind. For example, you could remember the word “island” by reminding yourself that “An island is land surrounded by water.”  

I personally use mnemonics a lot! I even change the names of the people in my phone’s contact list by replacing their name with a new adjective that I would come across. For example, I named a friend of mine who is a bit reserved and doesn’t like to speak much by the word “taciturn,” which means a person who is reserved or uncommunicative in speech. Now every time I get a call from them, it says “Taciturn calling.” This helps me to remember uncommon words in English, and helps me associate them with people in my life!  

3. Read, hear and write 

Let’s get back to the basics. The more you use the words you’ve learned, the more proficient you’ll become in spelling them. The best way to learn and use more and more words is to get into a strong habit of reading, hearing and writing them. Start with reading a book of your choice and mark any new words that you come across. Watch English television with subtitles. See how the words are being spelled as you hear them. And finally, write! Look at the original word once and try to write it on your own while covering it with one hand. 

4. Chunk it down 

By voraciously reading, listening and writing, you’ll encounter really long and complex words. The best way to memorize such words is by separating them into chunks and memorize one chunk at a time. The word “chromatography,” for example, can be chunked down like this- 

Chro 

Mato 

Graphy 

Now your task is to just remember the spelling of these three short words instead of memorizing the older long one. This little trick will make it a whole lot easier to remember spellings of long and complex words! 

5. Do your own research 

There is no single resource available out there which can give you access to all the words and rules. Make friends with the dictionary and internet, and explore multiple websites and applications. Read blogs and books, and expose yourself to the vast world of words this language has to offer. 

You’re Ready! 

Now that you’ve gone through all tips, tricks and e-booklets; it’s your turn to put your “spelling antennas” on and ace this competition. Trust me, it’s not just hard work and perseverance that will bring you success; but excitement and determination from within will play an equally important role in bringing you victory. Register for Spell Kahoot today and bring some competitive fun into your life!